SF Weekly – October 26, 2011
by Peter Jamison
According to the San Francisco-based organization California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR), more than 25,000 California nursing-home residents are being given anti-psychotic drugs. That’s about a quarter of the state’s nursing-home population, and according to CANHR and other elder-rights activists, it’s a figure that’s way too high — particularly considering the negative side effects these medications can have.
“They’re being sedated into zombie-hood,” says CANHR staff lawyer Tony Chicotel. He adds that anti-psychotic medications increase the risk of death among seniors, are prescribed in place of more effective non-drug methods for handling patients with dementia, and are often give without obtaining patients’ consent.
“They’re very rarely asked whether they want to take the medication,” Chicotel says.
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